Friday, July 22, 2011

Update: 3:00pm on 7/22

Today's update is beautifully written by Whitney, but first I will give a short intro. Forrest continues to work hard in therapy. Unfortunately he continues to be less responsive overall, a trend that has emerged over the last few weeks. We're continuing to meet with doctors to try to determine when it is possible to undertake the next and hopefully final surgeries that will allow Forrest to make progress AND hold onto progress. It's important to note that Forrest's BEST days the last month have been when Mr. Northrup, Mr. Sweitzer, and Forrest's friends have visited. We hope his friends will continue to visit, inspire, and motivate Forrest to get better, as they do so well!

-Love, Austin

Motivation and momentum. Those are the two words that I have heard most during my time with Forrest.

My name is Whitney Weeden, and I am a friend of Forrest and the Allens. I have been fortunate enough to have time this summer to help with Forrest’s recovery, and I wanted to share some stories about my time with him.

Motivation. The first day I came to visit Forrest, I was thrown into the therapy right away because “Forrest would probably respond better to a familiar girl more than he would to a therapist.” Sure enough, Forrest was swallowing, grabbing the ball, and squeezing my hand every time we asked him to. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but this exceeded any expectations that I did have. Forrest is still Forrest. Being sick for this long would dishearten anyone, and it’s the friends, family, and positive support that are so important in motivating Forrest to continue to work hard and fight for that recovery.

Momentum. One day, I was talking to Forrest about how important it is for him to work hard to get over this hump and continue full speed ahead to a full recovery. My attempt at an inspirational speech was interrupted by a physical therapist coming in to work with Forrest. This session was the hardest I have ever seen Forrest work, and I’d like to think it was my words that helped motivate him. He was following a ball around the room with his eyes, playing with his lacrosse stick, and pushing a ball toward me. I know he can hear what we are saying to him, and he is trying his hardest to get that momentum going again.

Motivation and momentum are primarily spurred by Austin and Rae throughout Forrest’s whole recovery. Watching Austin and Rae interact with Forrest is truly unbelievable. I know this has been said before in the blog, but I would just like to reiterate how amazing they are with him. Austin is constantly adjusting Forrest so that he is as comfortable as possible. He chats with Forrest about anything and everything to keep him relaxed and positive. Rae lights up the room when she walks in. After seven hours of sleep the past two nights --combined!-- Rae gets back from her business trip and is as positive and inspiring as ever. Forrest is visibly more relaxed when he is around these two inspirational people.

Forrest makes it clear that he is working hard to get better when he shakes your hand or reaches for a ball or even just locks eyes with you. He has always been an amazing person who works hard for what he wants. In this case, he wants to recover.


Whitney helping Forrest with a spoonful of honey-water during Speech Therapy

Mom's Back! Helping with Occupational Therapy today


  1. Welcome to the team Whitney. And great job at motivating Forrest. Thanks for the well written post. It is great to see Rae back and Austin, you continue to ROCK. glad to hear you had a lacrosse stick in your hands again. Hang in there Champ! Miss you all. Aunt Lynn

  2. Thank you Whitney (and, as always, Austin) for the post. News is always welcome and, Forrest, your working hard with Whitney, responding to visitors, and determination to recover is both encouraging and inspiring! I am just so very sorry that - despite your perseverance, motivation, and momentum - things remain so difficult for you and your Team. And I find myself wondering if I am not the only one who feels that perhaps another evening of collective prayer might not be a bad thing. We want you, Forrest, to get over that hump, to move forward, stay there, and then continue on. Believing that collective prayer is often very powerful, perhaps we could combine our prayers again and give you an extra boost. The last service here in Middleburg was attended by so many of us, but I do not know who organized it - am hoping to find out through this blog and to see if others feel as I do. If so, let's do it...In the meantime, you and your Team 44 have our unending individual prayers for motivation and momentum, strength and resolve, hope and healing. With love, Lisa Sherman and family

  3. Hi Forrest, Team 44 and Whitney, I'm so glad to see this new blog today and see that progress is still being made. You have all been through so much this year, and you just keep working your hearts out.

    I am continuing with my prayers for all of you, and there is usually an announcement each week at church, asking for prayers all through the week, so you have many prayers coming your way from Bolivar, Mo. on a daily basis. Also, My sister in Mesa, Az. keeps up with your blog and is sending her prayers, and our niece (who recently had brain surgery herself for a tumor at the back of her brain) has been praying for you for several months.

    God Bless All of You,

    Joyce and Wilbur

  4. What a inspiring post for an inspiring young man! Keep Fighting Forrest! Praying better days are just around the corner!

    Lots of love to you and all of team 44!
    Kelly and family

  5. Thinking of you Forrest! Sending love and prayers from Pennsylvania--I'm going to try to make it back to see you in August
    Keep pushing
    Liza Rizzo